Take your knowledge futher


Chapter One

There are many collections of soundscapes available, linked on the website. What do soundscapes tell you about the places you’re listening to? What are the key sounds that differentiate them?


Chapter 2
Lossless and Lossy

Most people can’t hear the difference between lossless and lossy MP3 audio. Can you? There are many lossless audio tests online. See if you can hear a difference. It helps if you have fresh ears that aren’t tired from a day’s listening, and an excellent sound system.
There is an ABX test here:
Or you can try a simple test of lossless, 320 Kbps and 128 Kbps streaming:


Chapter 5
Stalker (dir. Andrei Tarkovsky, 1979)

The story for this film is about an expedition led by a guide taking two clients into a mysterious restricted site known as the “zone”. The scene to focus on takes place on a railroad cart from the known, natural world into the zone. One man asks the guide if they will get caught, and is told that the police won’t go in the zone because they’re afraid. The question “Afraid of what?” hangs in the air for about four minutes as the visuals just cut back and forth between the two clients. The scene is carried by the sound of the rail car, which as they get deeper into the zone—and as we move deeper into their mindset, an increasing amount of effects are placed on the sound, so that by the end of the scene they are saturated with phasing and filters and reverb.


Chapter 6
A Quiet Place (2018 dir. John Krasinski)

A Quiet Place is a sound designer’s dream job in many ways: sound plays a pivotal role in the film, since the aliens detect people through sound. But it’s also a great example of changing the subjective position. The character Regan is hearing impaired, and the audio cuts back and forth to help us experience many scenes from her perspective. Watch the film, then watch it again with headphones, and really focus on the effects used to change the subjective perspective.


Chapter Seven
Binaural Audio

You’ll find binaural audio in, for instance, Papa Sangre, Hellblade, and Sniper Elite 4. Pearl Jam released an album recorded in binaural audio (called Binaural, 2000), as did Can (Flow Motion, 1976). You can also find some classical music recorded in binaural sound. Listen also to the famous binaural barbershop experience
If you have the playback technology, you can also switch between listening to media in standard stereo or surround sound, switching back and forth so you can get a sense of what the surround speakers bring to an experience. There is also some music mixed in surround formats. For a while in the 1970s, quadrophonic (4 speaker, or 4.0 surround) music was popular with many artists—there’s a whole list here: (you’ll have to find a copy of the quadrophonic version, not the stereo version, to listen to it). In the late 1990s/early 2000s, 5.1 surround music albums were also released for a short time, as “super audio CDs”, or SACD. Now that most people have shifted to streamed music, you can pick up some SACDs cheaply, along with the used hardware required to play it.


Chapter Nine

BBC Academy Podcast: Working With Sound (May 25, 2017), and How to Create Stories with Sound (March 23, 2017). Available on iTunes. A BBC podcast series about creating podcasts, there are a few episodes specifically about sound that have clips of interviews with some of their sound designers.

HowSound by Rob Rosenthal HowSound is a podcast about radio storytelling, and many of its episodes are about recording and sound design.

Radio Drama Revival podcast Radio Drama Revival is a bi-weekly podcast that’s been going for over a decade now, and each episode discusses the craft of radio drama, but also presents dramas and interviews people involved in creating them.